Isolation entry: Day 1 – OCD maintenance strategies stripped away

You know what mate, don’t be a nob and share them around will you.

Yesterday on the way home I went to the local shop. The lady in front of me in the queue was balancing 3 huge packs of toilet paper on one arm, and 3 packs of cider in the other. She shouted hurriedly across the shop to her partner to come and grab as many cider packs as he could also. It was at this point I felt safe in knowing that human ingenuity and intelligence would pull us through these tough times. (I bought a 4 pack of toilet paper and one bottle of raspberry Pepsi max in case you’re wondering).

The better part of the last 2 days I’ve been running around madly trying to put in prevention measures at work to ensure our service can function. We are a team of 7. By the end of today 4 of us had to self isolate for a variety of reasons.

Today I received a phone call around 3:15 saying that our youngest was unwell in nursery with a fever. So, Day 1 of isolation began for our family of 4.

At first it didn’t really hit me with regards to how this might effect me, I was just focused on my boy and work related issues. However, as the evening progressed I started to feel anxious and almost claustrophobic. I very rarely suffer with physical symptoms of anxiety. OCD feels more like something is crushing the neurons in the brain. It’s not painful, but the activity is intense. Even on a good day my brain overthinks in its default state. It can be both a blessing and a curse.

It suddenly hit me however, many of my key OCD maintenance strategies have just been stripped away from me. Focusing on work, the gym, football, going out for a coffee, even driving. They’re all temporarily gone.

Whilst it is unlikely any of us have Covid-19, and with testing provisions limited we will probably never know, I already feel like something worse is waiting in the midst for me: an OCD flare up.

Managing the symptoms whilst under quarantine (sounds so dramatic) is something I haven’t done since being stuck in a remote Kenyan village over Christmas/New Year 2007/2008 during the post election violence. But at least there it was hot and I could go and play football.

I now have to navigate OCD with a temporary set of coping mechanisms to avoid, or at least minimise, the potential for a lapse. I need to be proactive and plan. OCD loves isolation and thinking time. These isolation entries will form part of the solution I hope. I’ll definitely get back to the old YouTube workouts (I missed you Jordan Yeoh). I’ll be working in the day (if and when the kids let me, and with the competing sound of Peppa Pig) which will also help. However, I still fear that more will be needed.

I’m sure I’ll survive, and it’s only 2 weeks (in theory), but this is definitely an unexpected challenge. Maybe it will give me opportunities to make even further recovery gains. Who knows.

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